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THE DEAL IS REAL: STARS TRADE NEAL

Posted By Travis Currie On Feb 21 2011 @ 4:54 pm In Dallas Stars | 5 Comments

As mentioned in my previous entry, ¬†James Neal and Matt Niskanen were involved in trade talks. And now they’re officially on their way out of town.

Joe Nieuwendyk pulled the trigger today and sent the two to Pittsburgh for defenseman Alex Goligoski.

The business side of things aside, the Stars dealt a young power forward with the potential to be a 35-40 goal scorer. He’s helped form a dynamic top line for the Stars along with Loui Eriksson and Brad Richards but he’s shown to be hot and cold and recently he’s been very cold. No doubt the Penguins have plans to play him alongside Sidney Crosby when he returns. He could very well be that finisher the Pens have been looking for.

Goligoski is a good skater and plays the offensive game so thats what he’s going to be expected to bring to the Stars. He’s been the whipping boy at times for the Penguins fans in that his defensive game has not rounded out yet. He could become a Brian Rafalski for the Stars which is something needed but I wouldn’t label him that number one stud we’re looking for.

Matt Niskanen himself has been the fans’ whipping boy for a couple years now and probably could use a change of scenery. I don’t think anybody will be sad to see him go and it’s still up in the air if he’s cut out for the NHL or not at this point. ¬†Pittsburgh likely sees him as someone to replace what Goligoski brought one day soon.

Goligoski is a $1.83 mill cap hit and Neal and Niskanen combine for almost $4.4 mill and all are under contract until the end of next season. The Stars managed to bring in a young puck moving defenseman and shed almost $ 3 million in salary. Adding a potential Brian Rafalski type is good but it’s a shame if the salary dump played a major role in this one.

It clears up some space for Brad Richards to re-sign but one thing to consider would be this: Will trading his left winger play a role in his desire to stay ?

Personally I was hoping for a little more in return for one of our young stud forwards. But we will see what Goligoski can do.

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